London, England – After my 19-hour layover in Iceland, I was off to my next destination. In the past I’ve travel to Asia multiple times but this would be my first time exploring any part of Europe. Landing in LGW airport, I was actually south of my main destination. After going through immigration, I then purchased a train ticket and made my way to the center of London.
- Check out prices for the various airports around London. At times there are sales and most of the airports are fairly close to the city center.
- Take the train to Victoria Station as this is the central area where most of your tourist attractions will be located.
- Most locations in Europe take Apple Pay so if you have an iPhone this will prove really useful.
- Watch out for pickpockets in crowded areas. There are signs in most tourist locations that warn you.
- Be sure to have some Pounds on your as some places will only take cash.
- Trains are very easy to navigate. Download a map online to save time or use Google Maps to for times.
- All the major tourist attractions are fairly close, you can even from one to another farily quickly.
Places to Visit as a Tourist
- Buckingham Palace
- Big Ben (Currently Under Construction as of 2018).
- London Eye
- Westminister Abbey
- Tower Bridge
- Trafalgar Square
- London Bridge
- The Shard
- Borough Market
- St. James Park
- Chinatown London
When in London you need to have tea alongside an English breakfast, fish & chips, and Indian food!
- Pimlico Neighborhood – This upscale area has some very good restaurants. There are a few spots here that are good for Indian food. Be sure to get some Tikka Masala at one of these spots during your trip.
- Borough Market – Tons of options here to choose from as there are many food vendors and stalls. Many spots give out samples too so visit each one to see what they have to offer.
- Pret A Manger – A chain of coffee shops you’ll find all over town. A good spot to grab some quick caffeine or a small bite. Good spot to use the restroom too if you’re wandering around. Purchase required though.
- English Rose, Cafe and Tea Shop – Come here to have their Full English Breakfast. Good decor and their tea is amazing.
- Doughnut Time or Crosstown Doughnuts – Gourmet level doughnut shops that are found throughout London. Definitely worth checking out and worth the calories.
- Fish and Chips by the London Eye – There are various spots where you can get fish and chips but the one right next to he London Eye is highly recommended. Unlike the states, the piece of fish you get is huge!
- Asian Food in Chinatown – Tired of fish & chips? Head to Chinatown for some Asian Food! Lots of restaurants and buffets.
- Tip for “Mat Surfing” is to always call or contact the school ahead of time to see if you are even allowed to take a drop-in class or come by for an open mat session.
For this trip I visited the London location of Carpe Diem (16-18, Marshalsea Road, London, SE1 1HL), the BJJ school that I visited in Tokyo, Japan. I contacted them via e-mail at http://www.carpediembjj.co.uk/contactus/ and was able to get in touch with Professor Tsuyoshi Tamaki, the owner and main instructor of the academy.
Upon arrival you can check in at the front desk. Gi rental is also available and changing rooms are located on your right. Be sure to take off your shoes. After paying the drop-in and gi rental fees I changed and proceeded to the mat to warm-up as the other students were arriving. I was attending a lunch time class so the class wasn’t too large but good instruction was given.
From what I saw, Carpe Diem – London gets a lot of visitors and drop-ins as the location is near an area with lots of workers. As this is a newer school, most of the students I met were beginners to intermediate level. The class focused on the mount position, americana, and armbars. I partnered up with one of the students to drill and afterwards I rolled with everyone that was in attendance of the class during that lunch period including the Professor.
Overall really good experience and the atmosphere reminded me of my various visits to Carpe Diem Hiroo in Tokyo. The color schemes and vibe was almost identical. Be sure to check these guys out if you’re in the area. It’s also a great location as you can walk a few blocks away for lunch right after at the Borough Market.
London reminded me a lot of the larger cities in the United States where everyone is out and off doing their own business. The culture was somewhat “Westernized” so nothing was out of the norm for me. There are unique things about the city which I enjoyed such as the sights and atmosphere but I found that three days was enough to see every major tourist spot if you’re wondering how many days you’ll need for this trip. Fun city but I highly recommend adding other European countries to your trip if you’re planning to visit London as there isn’t too much to do…
London, England – September 2018
Return to Homepage